A few thoughts on the NFL’s doings of recent days:
• Raiders off the radar: They traded a former Defensive Player of the Year, Khalil Mack, to the Chicago Bears, rather than sign him to the sort of contract that all the top stars are getting. This was nuts. The new coach, Jon Gruden, and the old general manager, Reggie McKenzie, clearly wanted different things. Gruden won. The Raiders now have the oldest roster in the league and a GM who likely will turn himself into a free agent.
• Darnold does it: The New York Jets drafted Sam Darnold to be the quarterback of tomorrow, if not today. Well, he’s the quarterback of today. Darnold was named the starter for the opener against the Detroit Lions on Monday night. No pressure there.
• Bills, Bills, Bills: Having drafted a quarterback, Josh Allen, in the first round, the Buffalo Bills plan to start Nathan Peterman on Sunday. And they are also going to take a look at Paxton Lynch, the Denver Broncos’ first-round pick in 2016 who was cut. If you have that many quarterbacks, you don’t have one quarterback.
• Not saved by the Bell: The Pittsburgh Steelers named running back Le’Veon Bell their franchise player, which meant paying him $14.5 million for this season. Bell wanted a longer deal and more money. No meeting of the minds. This happened last year as well, and Bell reported for the opener. Now he says he will not be on hand when the Steelers open against the Cleveland Browns. Predictably, the Steelers are disappointed. Not sure what they expected. Surrender?
Thursday night’s opener matches the Atlanta Falcons against the Philadelphia Eagles, the defending Super Bowl champs. They met in the divisional round of the playoffs last season, with Philly claiming a 15-10 victory. Nick Foles, the Super Bowl MVP, will remain the starting QB for the Eagles until Carson Wentz (knee) is cleared for contact.
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